I absolutely LOVE when couples we meet with come prepared with questions about booking a wedding photographer:). To me it shows they’re not only looking for the right fit but they’re thinking through an investment that they’ll carry with them the rest of their lives. Usually in January most wedding sites start to roll out the top questions you must ask a photographer, DJ, florist, etc. Given these are all great questions and ones we hear the most, I wanted to touch on a few we rarely hear but are just as important. Even though these are geared towards photography, some are great to ask your DJ or DOC (day of coordinator).
1. Ask to see 3 full galleries or events from your prospective photographer. Why 3? Ever hear of the saying even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once and a while, well some photographers can be categorized the same. By having the option of looking at three different wedding portfolios you can compare consistencies, poses, lighting, and content. Do you really have to look through each image in the galleries, No, but take note if the gallery contains elements that you want to see in your portfolio? Besides some of those super creative couples might have an idea or two that might spark your interest!
2. Do you provide a sample timeline for our event? You want to make sure that a plan is in action for your event so that each moment is captured and time that you’re paying for isn’t wasted on 200 images of your shoes (even though they’re sure to be awesome). Timelines are meant to be flexible, especially on your wedding day so be sure to go into more detail on how it may be followed by your photography team. No one wants a controlling, watch beating photographer, or any vendor on their wedding day, especially if flukes happen, however they should be able to help guide the natural flow of a wedding day.
3. Do you educate yourself on photography techniques or upcoming wedding trends? Photography as a whole is an innovative and ever changing creature. Gone (thank heavens) are the days of stiflingly posed photography which made way to my personal favorite: highly creative, fresh photography. If you’re a fan of editorial and fashion inspired images, you want to be sure the photographer you’re about to hire knows a thing or two about telling a story and capturing the emotion of a wedding day with various lighting techniques and poses like you might see in Vogue or Vanity Fair. Don’t mistake education of techniques and trends to a collegiate degree- even some of the absolute best photographers out there have degrees in other areas of study, or none at all.
4. How do you determine the best way to pose us? Imagine this, you open your album to a friend or a co-worker and she says ‘Wow we did the exact same pose… all of them..” Okay she might not say that or even notice, but posing isn’t a one size fits all technique. Posing should feel natural but different than standing around the water cooler at work. Some couples have more outward emotion to one another and look great in a snuggly pose, where other couples might feel uncomfortable kissing on camera. The photographer you choose should talk with you on what you’re comfortable doing on camera as a couple and be respectful of wishes… not too racy, oh my mom would love this pose, I hate looking at the camera, etc.
5. Have you ever turned down a wedding or event? Okay, yes it was odd for me to write this down on my post-it note as well. Here’s my thought with this question. I believe you should look for a photographer who knows what a good fit is and what isn’t. I personally wouldn’t want to book a client who is looking for very traditional, on camera flash photography, because that’s not us. I also want to make sure that our personalities mesh well because you’re hiring us for one of the most important days of your lives and we’re with you for 8 hours or more. Your consultation with a photographer, and almost any vendor, is an interview on both sides of the table. 100% comfortable is the goal for any vendor you book for your wedding day!
Bonus points: Where do you draw your inspiration from? Creative! We’re in a creative business and inspiration is all around. Some photographers find this through education and learning, some through paging through wedding magazines or blogs for trends, and some by networking with other photographers. My best example of personal inspiration is being outdoors, watching the light patterns and textures, and educating myself with great sites and courses for photographers in our field.
Sure this isn’t the end all, be all of questions you should ask your photographer or any other vendor for your wedding, but these are the offbeat questions that may help in narrowing down choices.